ST. PETERSBURG – Team members identified as being at-risk of COVID-19 exposure started receiving the coronavirus vaccine Dec. 18 at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. The hospital delivered the first shot at 7:30 a.m. during a clinic held on their campus in St. Pete.
Team members signed up to receive one of the 400 doses available to them at the free, voluntary vaccination clinic. Designed to follow all guidance from state and federal health officials, another characteristic of this preliminary clinic was the upbeat atmosphere and noticeable excitement from staff receiving their shots.
“Our team members were very excited to receive their vaccines,” said John Moore, president of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. “Being that we are Pinellas County’s only Level 2 Trauma Center we are grateful to be among the first to receive the vaccine.”
Distribution of the vaccine will continued at the hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 22. Team members at other Orlando Health facilities are also receiving their vaccine. All locations are using the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.
“We are pleased to provide this initial round of vaccinations to individuals who face the highest risk of exposure to the virus,” said George Ralls, MD, chief medical officer, Orlando Health. “In addition to the Pfizer product, we expect the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to be approved within weeks, which – based on supply – should allow us to expand the vaccination program, eventually making the vaccine available to our entire workforce.”
High-risk groups are defined by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) as clinical and non-clinical staff with direct patient contact with increased risk of COVID-19 exposure. Examples include intensive care units (ICU), COVID-19 care units, emergency departments and personnel who handle infectious materials.
“As additional supply of vaccine becomes available, Orlando Health will move quickly to establish additional vaccination sites across our system,” adds Dr. Ralls. “Because the supply of COVID-19 vaccine remains unclear, specific dates for opening of additional sites has not yet been determined.”